United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) has asked Boeing to stop building B737-10s for the airline until the variant is certified and focus on the B737-9s, which can be delivered in a more predictable timeframe, Bloomberg has reported.

"We've asked Boeing to stop building -10s, which they've done, for us and start building -9s. It's impossible to say when the -10 is going to get certified," Chief Executive Scott Kirby said during a J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference. "The -10 is out for us until it's certified".

The airline confirmed it is "in the market for the A321-200neo" to fill the gap on its large narrowbody subfleet. However, Kirby was quick to emphasise that United would only opt for the European aircraft if the airline secured "a deal where the economics work... If we don't, we won't, and will wind up with more -9s".

The carrier is the largest customer for the -10 with 277 aircraft on firm order from the manufacturer. However, United has been openly frustrated by the delays in certification and said recently that the January 5 mid-air door panel blowout of an Alaska Airlines' B737-9 was the "straw that broke the camel's back". The airline subsequently removed the type from its internal fleet plan and reduced the expected deliveries of the -10s in 2024 from 80 to zero.

United Airlines already operates seventy-nine B737-9s and has a further 31 on order. Its fleet also includes eighty-five B737-8s with a further 41 on order. The airline is the world's largest operator of the -9 and the second-largest of the -8 (after Southwest Airlines), the ch-aviation fleets module shows. Delta Air Lines, which has firm orders for 100 B737-10s, does not expect deliveries of the type before 2027.

The carrier already has 130 A321neo on order, of which six have been delivered so far, and an additional fifty A321-200NY(XLR)s. Airbus has reportedly approached lessors about amending their delivery slots to lure United with relatively quick delivery slots.